Frank Sinatra’s Italian Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

The perfect Marinara sauce was one of Sinatra’s culinary passions. Frank published the recipe for his mother’s Natalie Della Garaventa aka Dolly Sinatra, tomato sauce in a cookbook and even launched his own line of jar sauce in the late 1980s. His recipe called for quality ripe red Roma tomatoes, virgin olive oil, not too much onion and a fair amount of Italian Gold aka garlic.

Frank Sinatra’s favorite recipe for Italian Tomato Sauce introduced at Artanis; which is actually Sinatra spelled backward. The sauce was introduced to Southern California supermarkets in the late 80’s.To launch off the sauce Sinatra’s family and friends gathered at, Morton’s, which almost never hosts a private party on a weekday unless your Ole Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.
Frank Sinatra's Italian Tomato Sauce and MeatballsAs some of you may know, I am an avid collector of Vintage recipes and memorabilia. You will find me constantly scanning the web for Vintage and Retro Recipe collections to buy or recipes that have been posted on other sites.Frank Sinatra Spagetti sauce and meatballsFrank Sinatra’s favorite recipe for Italian Tomato Sauce was originally published by Mainliner magazine, in 1973; the recipe is said to be his mother’s Dolly Sinatra’s original recipe. I have made an adaption to the original recipe because I really like more herbs in my sauce;  I have posted a clipping from WFBL Cookbook of The Stars below for you to view her original recipe.I use only high-quality tomato products and ingredients when I make the sauce. Quality Organic San Marzano tomatoes are the best; the natural flavor just comes bursting out. The difference is that big when it comes to the taste of the sauce. It has a clean fresh taste to it, lower grade tomato products are usually very bitter and acidic tasting. Which is why many recipes call for a pinch of sugar.

Use only fresh garden herbs when possible; parsley is sold nationwide in local markets yearlong. The cost is minimal, buy it fresh. Dried parsley completely loses all flavor when dried. If you need to use dried thyme, pick a quality trusted brand versus an off-brand for optimal flavor.

When choosing a dried pasta, take the time to look for a quality brand, organic if possible is recommended. If you can purchase fresh pasta awesome if you can make fresh pasta that’s even better.

Frank Sinatra’s Italian Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 of a cup of virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1-28-ounce can of organic San Marzano Italian-style tomatoes
  • 1-28-ounce can of organic tomato purée
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • kosher salt, to own taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to own taste
  • 1 pound of quality dried pasta
  • Extra chopped parsley for serving
  • fresh basil, optional
  • red pepper flakes for serving, optional
  • grated Pecorino Romano, optional


  1. In a frying pan, add the olive oil, the onion, and the four cloves garlic. Stir often over medium heat until onion is golden. Remove garlic cloves and discard.
  2. Drain the Italian-style canned tomatoes, saving  1/4 of a cup of the liquid. Place the liquid from the canned Italian-style and tomato purée in the blender for about 6 seconds.
  3. Add the drained tomatoes and blended tomato purée in the sauce pot; cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Season the Marinara sauce with fresh parsley, dried thyme, and kosher salt, and black pepper stir the sauce well; simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring sauce a few times.
  5. Cook 1 pound of pasta according to the package directions for al dente style pasta, drain pasta once was done, rinse if desired and re-drain.
  6. Pour spaghetti on the heated platter, cover with the sauce.
  7. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese.

NOTE: Traditional Italian sauces are made with the freshest, highest quality tomatoes and ingredients. If you are planning on making this sauce, I would recommend using only organic high-quality tomatoes for the best flavor experience.


Along the way of delving into our favorite ole crooner Frank Sinatra recipes on the net, I happened to wonder to myself if Frank Sinatra happened to have a Meatball recipe I could test out, low and behold I happened to find one. Believe it or not, Frank Sinatra seems to have several recipes claiming to be his meatballs posted by blogs plastered across worldwide Web when you do a Google Search. Later, I actually found a copy of the WFBL Cookbook of The Stars on eBay for purchase and here is a clipping of the recipe below.Frank Sinatra Dolly SInatra's Recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs

Frank Sinatra’s Meatball recipe

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 of pound ground pork
  • 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 of a cup of grated parmesan/ romano Italian cheese blend
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • kosher salt to own taste
  • freshly ground pepper to own taste


  1. Combine, ground beef, ground pork, Italian bread crumbs, parmesan/Romano Italian cheese blend, eggs, chopped parsley, minced garlic, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Form meat mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball.
  3. Brown the meatballs in olive oil and reserve until sauce is made.
  4. Add to the sauce and simmer for 20-30 on a lower heat setting.

NOTE: For the best results possible use only fresh, quality products for meats, cheeses, and herbs. Refrigerate the sauce and meatballs overnight if possible, you will thank me later for that tip.



© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch,2016- 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms.



Perfect Marinara sauce was one of Sinatra’s culinary passions. Frank published the recipe for his mother’s Natalie Della Garaventa aka Dolly Sinatra, tomato sauce in a cookbook and even launched his own line of jar sauce in the late 1980s. His recipe called for ripe red Roma tomatoes, olive oil, not too much onion and a fair amount of Italian Gold aka garlic.



  1. This was the best spaghetti sauce ever! I am not a fan of meatballs so i fried 1 lb of lean ground beef and 1/2 lb of mild Italian sausage. Then I followed the recipe for the sauce. It was the best!


  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I did not become a huge fan of Sinatra until I was much older. I loved learning more about him from a PBS special on his life and now through your post. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  3. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I did not become a huge Sinatra fan until I was much older in life. I enjoyed learning about his life through PBS and now your post and of course I am very much a fan of his music. It would have been fun hanging out with ole blue eyes!


  4. Now all I want to do is stay home and make sauce! But duty and work call…. so I guess it will have to wait. I love try other people’s sauce, although it never quite compares to my family recipe. 😉


  5. Oh my goodness! I can’t believe I had never heard of Frank Sinatra’s Italian Tomato Sauce before!!! I LOVE recipes with history!!! Making this SOON! (With the butter, muhahaha!)


  6. Both the sauce and the meatballs sound fantastic!! I’m glad you omitted the half stick of butter though, I definitely would prefer it this way too. Nothing beats a nice big bowl of pasta and meatballs. YUM!


  7. This is a terrific post and the recipes sound delicious. The sauce recipe is a must try for me. I’ll be dating myself with this statement, but I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, my parents were music & dance lovers.


  8. Great Vintage recipe for meatballs and spaghetti sauce ! I love old recipes especially ones by Old Blue Eyes himself!


  9. Classic Italian cuisine from a classic! Love this!! Whenever I make Italian dishes, there is always Frank crooning out a tune in my head! lol SInce hubby is a huge pasta/Italian food lover, putting this one on the list to make! thanks Heidy!


  10. This is a fabulous tomato sauce! I found it a few months back when I was looking for old recipes for “something new” for supper. I made it as is, but I did like you did, Heidy—omit the butter and use olive oil instead. (The thought of all that butter grossed me out.). I haven’t tried the meatballs yet, but I will. Thanks for posting this from Ol’ Blue Eyes! 💛


      • Just thought I’d mention that your listing of ingredients is slightly off from the original. The meat is a 50-50 blend of beef/pork instead of 1 pound, half pound. I enjoy making and especially eating meatballs and look forward to trying this variation out. Thanks for sharing!


      • Hi, yes Carl it is. As I mentioned in the post I modified a few things, but thank you because I always appreciate Y’all mentioning things; as you never know I might do a big ole typo. Thank you again!


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